Houston already has about 300 miles worth of bike trails and routes all across the city, an elaborate network that will soon include a spur of sorts that follows an old railroad track off of Polk Street to Texas Avenue just outside the ballpark. The city's bicycle pedestrian coordinator Lilibeth Andre says the new section will be called the Columbia Tap Union Station route.
"This one's less than a mile but it brings folks into the terminus of the existing rail, which is what we're using the build the trail and it hooks-up to some bike lanes that bring folks in, so they'll be able to connect to Minute Maid Park, the convention center, Discovery Park, all this area downtown."
The new route is welcome news to cyclists like John Preston, who commutes to his job in the downtown area from his home near the University of Houston.
"I usually go home at lunch and come back and then commute home in the evening so this is an awesome thing for me. It's going to make it a little safer and a little less hazardous. Anytime we can stress bicycles over cars, it helps everybody. It helps the people who are stuck in cars and really can't ride in. I live close. It's only four miles but when I'm not on my bike, I'm in a car, so I figure I'm helping everybody by staying out of their hair on a bicycle."
With a group of young bike riders by his side, V.I. McReynolds says he can't wait to try-out the new route when it's complete. He coordinates the Tour De Hood, a ride through some of Houston's oldest and most historic neighborhoods.
"I think it's going to be a really good thing the more we develop this because now we're getting childhood obesity which is another problem. Hopefully with these trails, we'll be able to get the kids to ride to school, maybe walk to school and drop off a few pounds."
Mayor Bill White, an avid cyclist himself, says these are good days for bike riding in Houston.
"The Columbia Tap Trail is a wondrous trail that will link whole sections of our city. It's fit that we're doing a groundbreaking here of this project that has been planned for so long at a time when many sections of this trail could be open by the time Discovery Green opens next spring."
Discovery Green is a new downtown park that will be situated near the George R. Brown Convention Center. For a link to a map of all of Houston's bike routes, check our website, KUHF.org.